Own The Skies
SCD member and Managing Director of Cirrus Aircraft UK, Michael Wright, brings us up to speed with their innovative aircraft and how learning to fly could transform your life.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Michael Wright and I am the Managing Director of Cirrus Aircraft UK and a supportive member of Supercar Driver. Since I was a young child, I’ve always had a great passion for both aviation and cars. As you can appreciate, cars were my first attraction from when I was an apprentice and could just about afford a Mini Cooper, whilst aviation came later in life as funds became available. I currently own a Ferrari 488 Spider which I’ve owned for 18 months. It’s an amazing car and I am torn between getting a 296 or a Pista next.
What inspired you to learn to fly?
My father used to build and fly radio-controlled aircraft, so I was brought into the aviation world quite young, although my feet sadly were always on the ground. It wasn’t until my first pleasure flight at the age of eleven that the seed was really planted. I wished my father knew how approachable flying clubs and the flying community is in the UK because I’m sure it may have given him the inspiration to learn to fly.
My first flight experience was ten minutes with Captain Townsend from Bembridge Airport.
It’s funny how all these years later I still remember the name. I originally learned to fly at Sywell Aerodrome where my office is now.
What are the benefits of flying?
The real benefit of flying is the ability to move from one place to another very quickly, without waits in departure lounges, lost luggage, and the general threat of who knows what’s next. The other thing about owning your own aircraft is you tend to fly from smaller locations that are closer to your home and can therefore leave your car there, making you feel more relaxed than parking in the Terminal 3 multi-storey at Heathrow. Let’s not forget that flying yourself and your family is also great fun and a sense
What are the challenges of learning to fly?
Time. Both supercars and aviation require time, and in the world we live in, time is very precious. Once you have your license, you can save time by flying yourself where you want to go, but many traditional flying schools will teach only an hour a week, which isn’t ideal. At Cirrus Aircraft, we teach in full days with four to five hours of instruction, so on the days you can take out of your work diary, you make real progress.
What is your advice to people interested in learning to fly?
Do it! Why not? You control the pace and it is very achievable. There is a wide range of Cirrus Training Centres throughout the UK, and an array of Cirrus-trained instructor pilots, known as ‘CSIPS’, to help support you in your new aircraft.
How is driving a supercar like flying a Cirrus?
A Cirrus aircraft is often referred to as the ‘GT3 of the Skies’. They’re both, I guess you could say, the benchmark to one of the top-performing products. There is a great network of Cirrus Service Centres to ensure your aircraft is maintained appropriately, and a new Cirrus comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty for peace of mind. Whilst owning an aircraft may feel like a step into the unknown, the great benefit of Cirrus ownership is that our partners in servicing, insurance and finance are there to make life easy for you.
Cirrus has taken great inspiration from the world of supercars for our interior and exterior aesthetics. We have further developed a programme called ‘Xi’ which allows you and a dedicated internal Cirrus designer to tailor your new aircraft. It’s very similar to Tailor Made offerings by Ferrari.
What makes a Cirrus aircraft innovative and unique?
Cirrus Aircraft truly stands out among the rest. The company has developed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) which is equipped in every Cirrus SR and Vision Jet®. In the event of any in-flight emergency, you can pull the red lever in the cockpit to deploy the parachute and glide down safely. CAPS has returned 232 people safely.
Additionally, the company has added Safe Return™ Autoland by Garmin® in the Vision Jet. In the event the pilot has a medical emergency and can’t fly the aircraft, Safe Return turns the aircraft into an autonomous drone, calls out to air traffic control, reads the weather, and safely lands itself at the nearest suitable airport.
Where can people take a demo flight in a Cirrus?
Whilst our Cirrus office is at Sywell Aerodrome in Northampton, there are hundreds of airfields in the UK. You would be surprised how close one is to where you live. I’d be more than happy to fly to you and show you how a Cirrus could literally change your life.
These images were made possible thanks to DMB Collection for the cars and Leeds East Airport for the location.